Frankfurt am Main – November 15, 2018 saw the premiere of the Corporate Culture Award (CCA). The first award for outstanding company culture was presented against the celebratory backdrop of the 10th German Economic Forum at Frankfurt’s Paulskirche. The prize-winners include Heraeus in the “Digital Culture” category and PSD Bank in the “Change” category, while the Otto Group won the prize for the “Shared Value” category and Kärcher claimed the honors for “Best Story”. On top of this, Covestro was also presented with a special prize for innovation culture.
The very first Corporate Culture Award was presented by HR and transformation consultancy Promerit, together with culture analysts Deep White, the Serviceplan Group, and the newspaper Die ZEIT. Five companies were honored for their outstanding corporate culture.
The award, which from now on will be presented annually, is based on a dual-level process whereby a jury comprising representatives from academia, media and business evaluate the cultures of companies and their managers. In the second stage, an academically-oriented culture analysis is undertaken. In this first edition of the award, 13 finalists were chosen from 153 nominations.
Heraeus – winner of the “Digital Culture” category
Heraeus is the world’s biggest manufacturer of synthetic quartz glass. With more than 100 locations in 40 countries, it is among the biggest family-run companies in Germany. Heraeus has recognized that competent and motivated employees are a crucial factor for success, since they show their own initiative and willingness to develop further – partly because the company itself provides the appropriate options for this. This can only work on the basis of a mature corporate culture, which explains the outstanding performance in the area of the “Corporate Citizenship” category.
With “TRAIN THE TEAM”, Heraeus has launched a digital learning platform that is used by around 650 employees in the company. It forms the basis for entrepreneurial knowledge transformation. The induction process is being continually improved and competences further developed, while experience and knowledge are gathered and innovations driven forward. Heraeus’s “Learning Management System” takes employees into a digital world – and it has long since proven itself to be a resounding success.
PSD Bank – winner in the “Change” category
PSD Bank Nürnberg is an online bank with personal service. The services and advantages of a private customer bank are combined with the conditions and processes of an online bank – and the bank trades based on cooperative principles.
In 2015 PSD Bank revised its overall position. This was then translated into specific USPs for customers and into actions for employees, while the mission statement “Clarity in every relationship” was also developed. With three-way harmony between new forms of working, togetherness and responsibility, a measurable corporate culture is taking shape.
The results of the comprehensive process can be found in the “Culture Book”, for which the company received an award.
Among all the submissions, PSD Bank had the highest Value Performance Index overall in the cultural analysis. This value relates to cultural dimensions such as “humanity”, “competence”, and “corporate citizenship”, and confirms the notable value orientation in the areas of “creativity”, “risk-readiness”, “error culture” and “open to new ideas”.
Otto Group – winner in the “Shared Value” category
The Otto Group scored points for its extraordinary “impACT” management process. This analyzes the effects of all social activities along the value-creation chain, from the origin of the products to their sale. With a pullover, for example, the chain is traced all the way back to the cotton-picker in the country of origin in order to put a specific figure on the ecological burden on the environment.
Using these sorts of fact-based study results as a basis, business processes can be oriented to be equally efficient and sustainable. This way, deficits that occur for humans and nature as a result of a company’s business activity can be compensated for and thus, at the same time, an added social value is created.
The fact that the category winner genuinely creates added value that doesn’t just hang on posters on office walls, but rather is measurable and put into practice, is also confirmed by employees in the culture analysis. The results show impressively how entrepreneurial thinking, social sustainability and social responsibility can be anchored in the culture of a company.
Kärcher – winner in the “Best Story” category
The success story began back in 1935 when the family-run company was founded. From Europe to Asia, America, Africa and Australia: Today, more than 12,000 employees from almost 70 countries work in the company.
The “Culture Excellence” initiative at Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG creates a protected framework for the development of the corporate culture. Employees are urged to be involved in shaping the culture themselves, and in addition to this, lots of formats, workshops and events are held to address cultural issues. One particularly suitable example is the “Employee World Meeting”, whereby teams that span different countries and functions work together on the matter of culture. This broad spectrum of methods was evaluated particularly positively by the jury.
Alongside all these ideas and projects, there is also one particular person who can be considered the driver of the culture: The CEO of the company, who is careful not to engage only at board level, quite the contrary in fact. In formats such as “Over a coffee with…” he holds numerous meetings with employees, and addresses what is really needed internally.
Kärcher is exemplary in showing that communication is a path and not a result. The link between strategy and culture is crucial.